Friday, November 17, 2017

Shadow Swatches: Miscellaneous Eyeshadow Singles and Quads from Stila, L'Oréal, Tom Ford, Butter London, Revlon, and Urban Decay

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Eyeshadow Singles and Quads from Stila, L'Oréal, Tom Ford, Butter London, Revlon, and Urban Decay

I didn't buy anything during the Sephora sale, did you? 20% off just isn't very exciting for me. I mean maybe if there was something I was definitely planning to buy anyway, it would be better to get 20% off than no discount at all, but there wasn't. Plus I have a bunch of Ulta points to use on frivolous shit.

Instead of shopping, lately, I've been playing with what I already have, including these eyeshadows which I realized I'd (mostly) never written about on my blog. Rather than doing a full review of them, I thought I'd just take some swatch photos and say a little about what I like or don't like about each. Not all of them are currently available, but I hope you enjoy the pretty pictures anyway.

The swatches below were made with a brush over primer (Black Radiance eyeshadow primer, reviewed here). If this were a proper review, I would have swatched them with and without primer for your information, but I just really wanted to show you the color and finish clearly. You can still tell which ones are shitty even over primer, anyway.

Oh, and I took way too many photos, which probably all look the same, so here's a cut.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Free Stuff (+ Shipping) from Stila, Beauty Blender, and DHC

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I haven't posted deals in a while! But here are a couple that were inspiring enough for me to get out of my warm bed and open up my computer.

Get a $25 credit good for any Stila purchase from Beautykind when you use this link. That means you can get one of those Magnificent Metals eyeshadows (or anything $25 and below) for just the cost of shipping: $6. I've bought from Beautykind before and had no problems (here's what I bought last time). There's a similar offer from Beautyblender, but I think you can only redeem one per address.

DHC also has a deal where new customers can try their Olive Essentials Travel Set (regular $16.50) for free when you pay for shipping ($4.50) with code TRYB4UBUY. I haven't tried that stuff, but it sounds nice. If that's not up your alley, you can also get 25% off your first order with code WELCOME17, and if you're not a new customer, they are offering free shipping on orders of $35+ with code NOVSAVE35.

Any other good deals you've heard about lately?

Sunscreen is for lazy people, too: Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

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Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

Earlier this year I panicked because I thought that my favorite facial sunscreen, the one I'd been using for years, had been abruptly discontinued. My short post about it ended up being one of my most visited posts ever, so I clearly wasn't alone. Eventually Lisa from Kinesys sent me a message to reassure me that the sunscreen would be back soon, to my great relief. Once it was restocked, she also generously sent two free bottles of varieties I had never used before to test and review: Kinesys Performance Sunscreen Fragrance Free in SPF 50 and Performance Sunscreen Mango Scent in SPF 30. In the past, I'd always stuck with the Fragrance-Free SPF 30 (reviewed here), and it never let me down.

Kinesys is all about gearing their sunscreens toward active, energetic, athletic people, as you can see from their sunscreen (and the fact that it has Performance in the name). But I want to suggest to you that it's just as good an option for the lazy, clumsy, and slow, like me--especially those of us who are looking for a lightweight facial sunscreen to wear under our makeup. You normally don't think of sprays as an ideal facial sunscreen formula (this isn't a facial mist/setting spray, after all), but the thin, non-greasy texture that makes it work for outdoorsy types is the same thing that makes it ideal as a facial sunscreen for us painted ladies.

If you've read my previous Kinesys review (or really, any of my sunscreen reviews), you'll know what I'm looking for: no smearing, no burning, no stinging my eyes, minimal greasy feeling, can apply makeup on top of it. Both of the two sunscreens pictured above fit the bill, along with the unscented SPF 30 I'd previously used. As I said, it's not a facial mist, so don't spray it directly on your face, or you're not going to be happy. Spray it into the palm of your hand and apply it just like you would any other sunscreen. It's a clear, thin liquid.

Review of Kinesys Performance Sunscreen in SPF 50 Fragrance-Free and SPF 30 Mango

The formula is silicone-based, so if your skin can't tolerate 'cones, you might want to skip this one. I've also found that water-based skincare products can cause this sunscreen to pill/get chunky, but that can be avoided by patting on the sunscreen instead of rubbing it, or just not using the two products at the same time. Personally, there are lots of serums and moisturizers that work for me, but not a lot of sunscreens that I like, so I am more willing to switch around other parts of my routine while holding on to a sunscreen that I know I will apply on a daily basis.

This stuff can feel a little slick immediately after you apply it, and the SPF 50 is slightly heavier, not surprisingly, than the SPF 30. I usually apply my sunscreen, wait about 10 minutes, and then put my makeup on top. Even without makeup, it won't smear after it soaks in a bit, though your skin will feel a little moist. If that bothers you, a light dusting of translucent powder will fix it.

One possible downside of this type of sunscreen is that I'm not sure what is the optimal amount to use in oder to to get the desired SPF. It seems like tests that determine you should use 1/4 tsp for your face and neck are usually based on lotion or cream formulas. I tend to dispense one and a half sprays into the palm of my hand, apply it to my face and neck, and then add another small spray especially around my eyes and hairline, which I might have missed with the first application. That amount seems to cover my skin in a nice, even, complete layer, which is the goal. (By the way, if you haven't watched Lab Muffin's video about how to wear sunscreen with makeup, you really should. It goes over everything about how sunscreens work and what can or cannot interfere with their effectiveness. Fascinating!)

Of the three varieties of Kinesys sunscreen I've now tried, I still prefer the unscented SPF 30, but these two are good alternatives. The SPF 50 is still quite comfortable to wear, and the fragrance in the Mango version is pretty mild--the tropical scent you'd expect, but I can't smell it anymore a few minutes after application.

These sunscreens are around $18-20 for 4 ounces, which might seem a little high, but since a bottle lasts me almost a year using it daily on my face and neck, it's a good value for me. I'd use something cheaper on my body, personally, but I'm pickier with what I use on my face. You can get them on Kinesys's website, where they offer a free sunscreen stick with your purchase (which I've never tried) or on Amazon. Their own site seems to be the only place that the 4 oz. Mango SPF 30 is available at the moment, fyi.

All in all, I'm very happy to be reunited with my favorite sunscreen, even if I won't be doing any parasailing any time soon! Or ever.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

My First Colourpop: Blotted Lip in Candyfloss

Review of Colourpop Blotted Lip in Candyfloss

Here I am, as usual, years behind the trend curve, with my one and only Colourpop purchase. For whatever reason, I've never been particularly attracted to Colourpop products. It may be because, despite my unreasonable hoard of makeup, I tend not to approach makeup with a collector's attitude, but rather by looking for functional, workhorse products. Most of the time. I get the impression that Colourpop makeup tends not to last an especially long time, either because of its small size or because it will dry up or go bad quickly (obviously this is unlikely to be the case with their new pressed powders). For instance, the Lippie Stix like the one I'm reviewing here are pretty cheap per unit at $5 a piece, but since they contain only a gram of product, they are relatively expensive by weight. I think, then, that they are ideal for someone who wants one of every color and/or doesn't expect to finish lipstick quickly, but less ideal for someone looking to discover their favorite lipstick and wear it constantly. But you know all of that already.

None of the above prevented me from pouncing when Colourpop offered a Blotted Lip for free with shipping a few months ago. It was the perfect way for a (cheap) skeptic like me to try one of their products without having to commit to a big order that would make the shipping seem more reasonable (bad economics, I know). I was on a brown/terracotta lipstick kick this summer (like everyone else), and it hasn't ended yet, so I'm glad I chose Candyfloss. The Blotted Lips are sheer, matte lipsticks, most often compared to Glossier's much pricier Generation G lipsticks.

Here's Candyfloss on my lips:

Swatch of Colourpop Blotted Lip in Candyfloss

It's actually not super sheer, as you can see, but it's translucent enough to make it easy to swipe on quickly without worrying too much about mistakes. Because it's sheer, it can look a tiny bit patchy, but only on really close inspection, which most people are not going to subject you to, I assume. I'm guessing that it might appear smoother on someone with a more brownish or peachy natural lip color than it does on my pink lips, because the color showing through wouldn't contrast--whereas pink or fuschia sheer stains tend to look more natural on me.

I like this lipstick a lot. It wears well, and when it fades, it doesn't look messy. It's slightly drying, but you can apply a decent layer of balm underneath or even on top of it, and it will only enhance how it looks. (I'm unreasonably picky about things that dry out my lips, so you might not find this stuff drying at all.) I haven't had any difficulty with the packaging or anything else.

Here are comparisons with some other brownish lipsticks I own. I swiped each one just a single time so that you can see the relative opacity.

Swatches of Colourpop Blotted Lip in Candyfloss

Left to right: (1) Colourpop Blotted Lip in Candyfloss; (2) Urban Decay Epigram; (3) Maybelline Maple Kiss; (4) LA Girl Matte Flat Velvet Lipstick in Hush; (5) Maybelline Touch of Spice; and (6) Bite Beauty Pepper.

Candyfloss is now the most orangey-brown lipstick I own, even compared to Maple Kiss, which I used too think was too brown for me to wear. It's quite clearly a lot sheerer than the others I've swatched, though Hush and Pepper are close. If you want a sheer, matte, nude that's available in drugstores (i.e. not just online like Colourpop), LA Girl Hush is a decent alternative for only $4, though obviously it's a much cooler nude than Candyfloss.

The colo(u)r of Candyfloss is beautiful, and the formula is great, so if you're placing a Colourpop order, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it\\adding it to your cart. Of the Blotted Lips, it's one I haven't heard people talk much about, but it's very wearable (at least for me). I probably won't be picking up more of these any time soon, or any other Colourpop products for that matter, but that's mostly because I am trying not to spend money on makeup right now. I will certainly let you know if I happen upon another Colourpop freebie, however!

Do you prefer sheer or opaque lip products? Sheer are more beginner friendly, and I certainly had to work my way up to the super-pigmented, but I still love something like this that's simple to apply and reapply.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Gentle Clay: Review of Freeman Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing Mask

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Review of Freeman Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing Mask

In my previous post I mentioned that I'm going to finish up my current clay mask before I repurchase my old favorite. The product I'm currently working on in the Freeman Feeling Beautiful Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing mask, which is described on the tube as "whipped clay." When I googled this stuff to find the ingredients, I found that it's no longer available on ULTA or the other usual spots, though you can still find it on Amazon, and you can get the small packet version from Walmart. This is what happens when I take months to test something before reviewing it. But I took photos, so I'm going to post them, damnit! I'll try to keep it brief.

The texture of this mask is certainly lighter than most clay masks, and you can see in the photo below why. It's definitely "whipped"--there are little air bubbles throughout.

Review of Freeman Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing Mask

The texture makes it easy to spread, but it also means that I need to use more to get the same even layer I would from another mask. As a result, I've been going through this tube pretty quickly.

The lumps below are bubbles, not chunks.

Review of Freeman Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing Mask

It doesn't feel bubbly or anything on the skin (i.e. no "sparkling"). It feels like your usual oil-absorbing clay mask, except it never quite dries completely, and you don't get that tight feeling in your skin as it dries as a result. On the plus side, I also don't get the sting in my eyes as the moisture evaporates that I get from many other masks. It's also easier to rinse than a really dry clay mask.

So the application is pleasant, but because it's not as dry, I haven't found it as effective as some other options. It does absorb surface oil and make me feel less greasy for a while, but it doesn't quite suck out the dark goop from my pores the way Freeman's Avocado and Oatmeal mask does, for instance.

It's also highly fragranced. I was expecting (i.e. dreading) a fake apple/pear scent, but fortunately for me, it smells more like rose. That might be a deal breaker for some, although the fragrance rinses away with the mask.

Overall, if you can find a tube of this, you might like it if you find most oil-absorbing masks to be too aggressive. Personally, I much more highly recommend the Freeman Avocado and Oatmeal clay mask (reviewed here), for the same price, to get more effective oil absorption and temporary pore minimizing, without drying out your skin.

Have you tried any new masks lately that I should know about?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

More empties

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It seems like I just wrote an empties post, but I took the rather uninspiring photo above back at the end of August. So it's time to write about this garbage (literal garbage, I mean--some of the products are great) before I forget all about everything. The main function of these posts for me is to keep a record of things I've tried, so that I can remember what I should and shouldn't buy again. I have a terrible memory! I hope they're at least somewhat useful and/or interesting to you too.

(I'll move from left to right in the photo, top row and then bottom row.)

Note: I used referral credits to buy the Paula's Choice products listed here, in case you're wondering how I could so cavalierly dispose of some of this expensive shit.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day In Shower Styler (mini): I got this as part of a Sephora Favorites kit and ended up loving it. I've already got a full size. If you have little-to-no wave in your hair like me, you can get little-to-some wave with very minimal effort using this stuff. You just apply it to your wet hair and barely rinse it in the shower, and then air dry (while occasionally scrunching, if you remember). Simple! (I think it enhances curl and wave in other hair types too, but I can't speak from experience.)

Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Buttercream: Swatched here. This is my favorite concealer formula, and this shade is a good match, but I replaced it with Fondant (reviewed here), because for whatever reason the coverage and application seems better in that shade. Oh, and if you tried this stuff a year or two ago and hated the applicator, they've changed it.

John Frieda 7-Day Volume: Reviewed here. I'm on my third or fourth bottle. Good stuff! (It's much, much cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else I've seen it, for some reason, so I always get it there.)

Paula's Choice 8% AHA Gel: A lot of people love this product, but I've found that glycolic acid just doesn't seem to have any effect on my skin. Lactic acid (like the mask reviewed here) works much better for me. So I used probably a quarter of the bottle on my face, then started mixing it with body lotion for my legs, etc., for a while, and then finally when I moved, I tossed the rest, because I didn't want to pack it.

Paula's Choice Hydralight Lotion: Reviewed here. This moisturizer was a favorite of a lot of people, myself included, and so Paula's Choice got a lot of flack for discontinuing it this year. Thankfully they listened to feedback and brought it back!

Paula's Choice Resist Oil Booster: It's a decent, light skin oil, I guess, but it's nothing special for the price. I ended up using it mostly on my cuticles and as the last step in this excellent masking routine.

Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser: I have said many times that you can get cleansers that are just as good as those from Paula's Choice for a much lower price, but of theirs this is probably my favorite. I don't even have dry skin, but it's still effective, gentle, and non-drying.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: So this is pretty much just scented alcohol and water with a bit of glycerin in it. A lot of people love it, but I don't know what they experience when they use it, because it did nothing for me. I ended up using it as a (very pricey) body spray--fortunately it was in a Sephora Favorites kit, too, and the kit was marked way down, so I didn't actually spend much to try it.

Wet N Wild Mattifying Powder: This is a decent powder. It has a fine texture and it does mattify. But I have never emptied a powder so quickly in my life! I think I finished the whole thing between about April and August, and that wasn't using it every day. My brush picked up a lot, and the pan is barely more than a millimeter deep, despite the unnecessarily large packaging. It's fairly cheap, but you can definitely find an equally affordable and effective powder out there that will last you five times as long. I wouldn't buy it again, needless to say.

Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo (mini): Smells like piña colada, works just as well as all the other Batiste dry shampoos.

Freeman Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask: Reviewed here. This is my favorite mask ever. It works so well, it's cheap, and the tube contains a TON. I didn't actually finish it, because of that whole containing a ton thing, but it was getting very old and I had certainly got my money's worth. I'll definitely buy another tube once I finish the new clay mask I'm trying now.

Dr. Brant Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner: This is a thin mask that works pretty well, but it's much more expensive and less effective than the Freeman mask above, so I'd recommend that instead.

Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (mini): I got this in a Sephora Play! box. I liked it--it did make my roots/scalp feel cleaner. It definitely needs to be followed up with conditioner if you don't want super crunchy hair. I figured I could DIY it by mixing a bunch of epsom salts (I had some Aloe & Rosemary salts from CVS that had a very similar scent to this) with shampoo, but the salt turned the shampoo really watery and it wasn't the same at all. I still don't think I would spent the million dollars they want from me to put some salt on my head, though.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (travel size): You can buy this cheaper in giant tubs, but I mainly only use it as a heavy eye cream or on whatever part of my face needs some extra moisture, so the tiny jar lasts me about a year. I got mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I can't find this little jar online anywhere for you. And now I'm reminded that I have a new replacement jar at home that I haven't opened yet, and I should dig that out. It's great if you want something thick but simple to layer over other products.

So that's it for this round! Have you finished up anything exciting (or terrible) lately?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder a dupe for Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder?

Review of No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Left: No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder; Right: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Translucent powders are hard to review. If they work well, they look like nothing at all. I got a mini jar of Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder as a Christmas gift last year, and I liked it enough that I considered spending the $38 to get the full size. But that's a lot of money, so I needed to think carefully about why I liked it.

No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Top/Left: No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder; Bottom/Right: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
It's truly invisible on my skin, no matter how much I apply. I use it to set my concealer and I've used it on bare skin and over foundation. It never looks powdery and it doesn't cause what's under it to get dry and weird. Now YMMV on this aspect, because I've read reviews in which people have said that this powder looks cakey and obvious on their skin no matter what they do with it. I don't know for sure what the cause is, but I'm guessing it has to do with the color. It's very pale and on the yellow side of neutral. Translucent, sure, but if you have darker or cooler skin, it might not be translucent enough. In fact, I'm pretty certain that's the case, because Laura Mercier recently added a second shade called Translucent Medium Deep--the original is just called "Translucent." (Of course, the mini jar only comes in the lighter shade. Sigh.) Since I'm pale and neutral-toned, the lighter shade works well for me.

It also creates a natural, flattering finish on my skin. It mattifies but not so much that it looks dry and powdery. It has a very subtle blurring or softening effect without any shimmer at all. And while it doesn't exactly make my makeup wear all day under sweaty conditions, it works well enough to set everything.

It's great and I like it a lot, but it's not exactly magic or anything. So when I read somewhere that No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder was a $13 "dupe" for the LM powder, I decided to give it a shot. I'm admittedly not terribly picky about powder, so I figured that even if it wasn't perfect, it would be adequate for the time being.

(You might note that the LM powder contains 1 full oz., while the No7 has only 0.7 oz., but that still makes the No7 significantly cheaper either way you look at it.)

The main difference between the two powders is the color. While they are both light and translucent, the No7 powder is quite a bit pinker.

No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Left: No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder; Right: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
As I said, my skin tone is just on the warm side of neutral, but while I guess the LM powder is technically a slightly better match, they both work equally well for me in practice. Here are heavy finger swatches for another comparison:

No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Top: No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder; Bottom: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
No shimmer, as you can see.

I also blended out the swatches, but the photo isn't very helpful. I guess you can see why I didn't bother to show you a photo of the powder on my face. They both turn invisible on my skin.

No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
Top: No7 Perfect Light Loose Powder; Bottom: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
But maybe you can see a little of the softening effect I described? Maybe not.

Other than the color, I haven't noticed any real difference in performance between these two products, so I'm quite satisfied with my budget option.

I will say that the packaging for the No7 is a little overly bulky and also slightly messier than the LM powder. Powder tends to settle on that sort of ledge around the edge of the jar and then scatter from there (you can see what I mean in the second photo above). Neither of these powders is so light that it flies all over the room and up my nose, fortunately (looking at you, MUFE HD powder). Both jars have annoyingly domed lids so that you can't stack anything on top of them--the No7 is almost but not quite flat, just to rub it in. And they both came with very nice powder puffs inside, which, in both cases, I promptly lost, because I use a brush--so no photos, sorry.

My suggestion is that if you are similar to me in coloring, just go with the cheaper No7 option. It's available for the same price at Ulta and Target. If you are pale but very warm, and you're concerned that the No7 might not be a good match, the Laura Mercier powder might be a better bet--but honestly I would still probably gamble that the No7 would be translucent enough to work for you. If you have darker skin, it's probably going to be worth your while to purchase the darker Laura Mercier shade. And let's hope that No7 and other brands get their shit together and realize that even if something is translucent, a light shade is not going to work for everyone. Is it really so hard to produce two fucking shades?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I don't need this: Review of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% and The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Review of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% and The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Yes, I just wrote a post about over-consumption in skincare, and now I'm reviewing a couple of products from one of the trendiest brands of the moment. But this is also a post about not trying to use things you I should know won't work for you me. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes, since I obviously can't.

The first of the two products I'm reviewing here is The Ordinary's Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. Emi from Project Swatch kindly gave me her tube when I expressed interest after her review, in which she found she didn't like using it because of the grittiness. For some reason I wanted to test my mettle against the unappealing texture, since I can usually stand weird products so long as I use them at night. I won't go into all of the technical details of how this product is supposed to work, but I will direct you to this excellent and thorough review of 27 products from The Ordinary. You can also read about them on Deciem's website (the company that makes The Ordinary), but I will point out that that they often make little attempt to provide really accessible information--and in fact, I think this is part of their marketing plan. Is there a word like "greenwashing" for marketing that presents everything in a very technical, scientific way, to make it sound more advanced and unique? I mean look at the product names. Broken down to basics, maybe, but hardly ordinary.

In general, vitamin C is supposed to "brighten" by fading extra pigmentation, and to prevent or repair sun damage. Here's a great explanation of antioxidant effects from Lab Muffin (still sciency, but a much better presentation than Deciem's). And here's where I went wrong. How many products do I own that claim to "brighten" skin? I don't even want to count. How many times have I actually noticed a difference in my skin as a result of using a brightening product? Rarely-to-never. I don't have hyper-pigmentation or dark spots or the usual things that brightening products are meant to brighten. And so while I don't think that it was completely useless to use this particular product, because I probably got some invisible preventative effects from the antioxidants, I didn't see any noticeable improvements in my skin while using it. That doesn't mean that it doesn't work or that you won't love it! It means I didn't need it, because I already use other good antioxidant products.

Review of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% and The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Left: Review of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%; Right: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

I can tell you something about my experience of applying the Vitamin C Suspension, however, since it is an unusual product. You can read on the product page about why it feels the way it does, but I would describe the texture as feeling like a small amount of baking soda mixed into a lotion. Deciem says that it "tingles," but I would describe the sensation as more of a mild burning. I don't recommend using this stuff if you have any broken skin on your face, like a recently scabbed-over zit, because it will sting like fuck. As I hoped, the texture doesn't bother me too much. I apply a thin layer and leave it for 15-20 minutes, and then lightly apply moisturizer on top. By the time I add the moisturizer, most of the grittiness has gone away, but I still prefer to add another layer, because it's quite greasy. In fact, I can still feel the oiliness on my hands even after washing them with soap. With a more pleasant moisturizer over it, however, it feels ok while I sleep, and it washes off easily in the morning. The product itself doesn't have any fragrance when I apply it, but by morning my face smells like it has fake tanner on it, which is interesting. That smell washes off with the product. Also, if you happen to get any of it on your lips, it has a very sour taste.

My story with the Caffeine Solution is similar. I purchased this stuff myself from Well.ca ($10 off with code brutallyhonestbeauty), and had it shipped to my sister in Canada along with a few other products from The Ordinary. I'd read a few brief reviews from people who said it really helped with their dark circles, but apparently I didn't pay close attention, or I would have known it wasn't likely to help me. It works by constricting blood vessels to reduce puffiness and it also reduces dark pigmentation under the eyes. My dark circles are not caused by either of those things--instead, the skin under my eyes is translucent, which makes it look purple-blue. (You can see what I mean here.) In addition, quite the opposite of puffy, my undereye area is somewhat sunken (you can see here). So in fact, I would benefit more from increased puffiness and pigment, not the opposite!

But I tried the serum anyway for about a week, since I had it, after all. I was curious. It didn't improve my dark circles, as I should have expected. I don't know if it made the sunken, shriveled skin under my eyes worse, but it certainly didn't help. Let me advise you to READ THE FUCKING PRODUCT DESCRIPTION BEFORE YOU BUY SOMETHING. Honestly, I don't think there are any products other than concealer out there that can help my ghoulish blue circles, though I'm trying some eye patches to see if they will plump up the skin temporarily (recommended by Mimi from Makeup Withdrawal).

The texture of the Caffeine Solution is lovely, by the way, in case it's the kind of thing that might be of use to you. It's a thin serum that absorbs quickly. The bottle ought to last forever, because you'll only need a drop max for each eye.

I need to stop using things simply because I'm intrigued by reviews, and think carefully about what will actually benefit my skin. I do that most of the time, but my curiosity got the better of me this time. The Ordinary is an interesting line of products, and I have a few more to test out in the coming months. It's a cheap way to try fairly basic formulations and ingredients and to rule out what doesn't work for you (I guess I've accomplished that), which can be difficult to do with more complex, often more expensive, products. I haven't done a price-per-ounce analysis here, and I might attempt one in the future, though I'm not sure exactly what would be best to compare these types of products to. Suggestions?

Have any of you have good luck with skincare from The Ordinary?

(I really would like to get up to two posts a week, instead of just one, but I haven't quite got the hang of my new schedule. Working on it!)
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